House approves bill to change superintendent to appointed position in 2021

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Legislation that would accelerate when the state superintendent of public instruction becomes an appointed position, rather than elected, passed the Indiana House on Thursday.

A law passed in 2017 already would change the position to an appointment by the governor in 2025, but after current Republican Superintendent Jennifer McCormick announced in the fall that she wouldn’t seek re-election in 2020, Republicans sought to move up the effective date.

State lawmakers voted 70-29 to approve House Bill 1005, authored by House Speaker Brian Bosma.

Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, spoke against the bill, arguing that a future Legislature could reverse the decision before 2025.

“Your concentrating the power,” Pierce said. “You’re losing diversity of power and views.”

Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, co-authored the bill but said he agreed with Pierce that it gives more power to the governor’s office.

“I’m voting for it on the condition that we watch the governor every day,” DeLaney said.

Changing the effective date is one of the top priorities for Gov. Eric Holcomb. The bill now heads to the Indiana Senate.

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